Wedding Stationary Explained
Hey there my friend!
As I’m sure you've realized, there are so many types of stationary when it comes to a wedding. I’m not talking design (although that opens up a whole other world of options), I'm talking about the different stationary elements that are often used for weddings: save the dates, Invitations, response cards, place cards, menus, programs, shall I go on? Here is where I lay out the basic types of stationary and options to consider within those, not to overwhelm you further, but in hopes to give you clarity. Here goes!
Save-the-Dates are sent out to guests months prior to the official invitation. Typically, they include a photo of the couple, the wedding date and the general location of where the wedding will be held. Don't forget to include the statement "formal invitation to follow".
These are optional, but very helpful if you have a lot of out-of-town guests who will have to make travel arrangements. These can simply be as simple as postcards or as formal as you'd like.
The Invitation Suite:
If you research what to send with your wedding invitation, you’ll find that there are a bunch of random little cards that you can include and the list can get overwhelming. I’m here to simplify that for you, so here are the basics:
The Envelope - Duh, right? But don’t overlook this. The envelope is the first impression, you can be creative with a colorful envelope or patterned inner-lining. You don’t have to get to fancy though, especially if you’re on a budget. However, do makes sure they’re addressed cleanly and that the postage is placed on nicely.
The Invitation Card - The Invitation card should simply include an invitation message that outlines who, what, when and where. As far as design, make sure that it reflects the formality and theme of your wedding. This is, for the most part, the only insight a guest gets into your wedding before the big day.
The Response (RSVP) card with a self-addressed, stamped Envelope - This is a small card that your guests will fill out and send back to you to let you know who will/won’t be able to attend.
Make sure the design coordinates with the invitation. Do not forget to include the self-addressed and stamped envelope to go with that card. You don’t want to give your guests an excuse not to respond.
The Enclosure Card - An enclosure card simply includes further details that are not included in the main invitation. Any of these can be their own card, but I know you're trying to be smart with your budget and don’t need to send out a chunky, heavy invitation package. Here are things you can include on your enclosure card:
Directions / Map - This is especially helpful if your wedding is out-of-town or if your ceremony and reception are at two different locations.
Hotel Accommodations - If you blocked a number of hotel rooms for guests, you can include instructions for your guests on how/where to book their room.
Wedding Website - If you have a wedding website, don’t forget to include it somewhere that it won’t be looked over.
Registry - I know this is a controversial topic in the wedding industry, but I honestly have no stance on whether or not you should include your registry information with your wedding invitation. You do you. You can always direct guests to the wedding website for your registry. Just do your research on how to word this section if you choose to include it.
A wedding program typically outlines the order of a wedding ceremony and those involved in it. Some brides choose to opt-out of these and some get really creative with theirs. It’s your wedding so, again, you do you. Make sure the program ties in with the theme and formality of your wedding.
The Reception Seating:
I’m just going to lump all of these together because they go hand-in-hand depending on how you decide to go about getting your guests to their seats:
The Place or Escort Cards - What’s the difference?
-Place cards are used for assigned seating and are placed on the tables before an event. Guests will typically locate their name on a seating chart, and their place card will be waiting for them.
-Escort cards are used for assigned tables where guests can choose their seats. Guests will typically locate their escort card on their way into the reception space and take the card to their seat.
Note: Either one is a MUST if you’re planning a plated-dinner service. Including a symbol to signify their enter option is also helpful for the wait staff.
The Seating Chart - Many brides opt out of using a place or escort card altogether and just stick with a seating chart. Guests will locate their name on the chart and simply find a spot at their assigned table. There are so many ways to format your seating chart, just choose what works for your wedding style.
The Table Numbers - Just like anything, you can be as simple or as creative as you’d like with these. You can simply purchase table numbers with stands online or at a craft store and call it a day, or DIY them! They don’t even have to be numbers - you can name each table after a song, a city or country, a book, or anything else you can think of that matches your wedding theme.
The Dinner Menu - You’d typically find a printed menu at a more formal wedding, especially if they’re serving a multi-course meal. However, some couples like to include the menu for guests so they know what to expect to find at the buffet. Including a menu card can easily upgrade your place setting by adding an extra element.
The Food Labels: If you’re serving a buffet-dinner and don’t care to have menus at each place setting, you can create food labels to be placed by each item on the buffet. Some caterers will do this for you, so don't be afraid to ask. This can be especially important if you’re serving ethnic cuisine or items that your guests aren't familiar with.
The Bar Menu - Don’t forget about your bar! If your bar vendor doesn’t already include one, make sure to print out and frame a bar menu including any signature beverages, types of wine and beer and non-alcoholic beverages provided. Include prices for beverages if you’re not having an open bar.
The Signage :
I always advise my brides to include signage in their wedding space. I typically take it upon my self to design and print out table signs and directional signs and place them in an inexpensive frame to give them an upgraded look. Signage can be used for:
Directions (to bathroom, reception or ceremony space)
The Thank You Card:
Last, but definitely not least, the Thank you cards. These should be sent out within a month after your wedding - but better late than never. Make sure to keep track of your wedding gifts and who sent them to you and write a thoughtful thank you note to each guest that brought you a gift. It doesn’t matter if it was shipped to you or brought to the wedding. It also doesn’t matter if it was a gift card, cash, check or a physical gift (or if you didn’t like it or exchanged it - still say thank you).
Well my friend, I hope this helped! Don't forget that your wedding is uniquely YOURS. Don't be afraid to express your wedding personality in your stationary. But also, don't feel like you have to have everything! Be smart about your budget when it comes to this area. I can't wait to see what you come up with! Feel free to share pictures of your #diyweddingstationary and tag #thediybridesbestfriend on Instagram so I can see what you're up to! Until then . . .
Your wedding planning BFF!